tv Tavis Smiley WHUT November 9, 2010 7:00pm-7:30pm EST
tavis: we come to the most critical rebukes of the obama white house coming from progressives. we have joan walsh. she argues the white house and democrats have become too cozy with big business, a key factor in last week's results. groban isht, salon.cojosh here. he teams up with rick rubin. we are glad you joined us. joan walsh and josh groban now.
>> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i'm james. añn=ol>> yes. difference, you help us all live better. supports tavis smiley. with every question and answer, nationwide insurance is happy to help tavis improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment one conversation at a time. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. tavis: a few quick programming notes. i will be joined by andrew young
livk conversation with his -- about his new book. then on thursday, jeffrey wright. on friday, a conversation with rebecca costa. more on the fallout on last week's elections with jm> my pleasure. tavis: speaking of fear driving, i have been asking this question. how much of these results last tuesday have to do with fear versus bankert? >> there is a lot of fear at
this point which leads to anger. it leads to enter rather than analysis or inquiry. i think we see there have been people rolling up americans, telling them that everything the democrats are doing is putting social security or their savings at risk at a time of great anxiety. with all the misinformation and the rabble rousing and fear mongering, people react defensively. i may not have much, but i want to hold on to a. i do not want those other people to get it. that is never a good reaction. america it is stronger when we believe we can do things for one another with one another and we have a common purpose in terms of rebuilding our country and putting people back to work, educating our kids. we can do that again, but right now, i feel like the emphasis is on fearing one another.
it did not work last week for the democrats. tavis: i suspect the comments from president obama is the shellacking he and democrats to get the polls. that wasybnx w his word. you argued the democrats shellacked themselves. tell me more. >> i think for the last 30 years, they have made a lot of decisions that have moved them away from being the party of economic justice and equity for all of us. to be much more of the party of their rich in many ways. their policies have been indistinguishable from the republican party. we saw, sadly, in the 1990's, president clinton regrets this but we saw deregulation and a lot of the deregulation that read to the -- led to the wall street debacle. the party drew from their conclusions, we need to raise
money. money is important and we know that. they could raise it from the wealthiest corporations and they could raise it from wall street, the democrats became close to wall street, insurance, real estate. those are the sectors where democrats excelled at raising money. 6q:l2[that presented a problem t when it came time to rein the sectors in and say the party is over, you have to use our money that you have gambled and brought down the casino and we need to fix things, they were not able to be tough enough rhetorically or in their policy responses, because these are their friends and their founders. their benefactors. that is one thing. there has been a real discomfort with being the party of the people. god knows you cannot talk about poor people in this country. we know we need to. you cannot talk about the middle class. we have seen an incredible redistribution of wealth of
words. not just from the poor but from the middle class and the merely affluent. people who are doing well but they see money taken from them and going to the one top% of our society. democrats need to come to terms with, do they want to fix the sq%e+my or will they be on+w> the people who are the winners, who have read and social spending system to preserve their own wealth and to lock others out? that is the big question. tavis: i could not agree more. if we cannot get a conversation about the poor and the growing numbers of poor, the weaker working class, if we cannot get a conversation about that now, how will we, when will we ever get traction on that? so many of those are in with the poor and the weak working class.
you cannot get the conversation about that in these times, where never got off the ground? it does not. we swing back and we have a republican in 2012 which i do not think we will. anything is possible. you lose that opportunity. we have a tremendous opporunity with president obama and the white house and democrats controlling congress. ùmggdespite what i said before t their ambivalence, they are the party who is grudgingly willing to talk about this. we have the conditions, we have had some bad times in our country before. in the -- the gilded age let us to a progressive era where we have laws and no child labor and americans were working. we know the depression give us a new deal. there were a lot of us who believed the silver lining of
the mass of 2008 was going to give us a new era of reform or we could reckon with what our economy have become and we could begin to talk about how to make it work for more people, how to get schools work for our kids so they're not thrown out or go to prison. how to create middle class jobs and create social safety nets were less so if we fall on hard times, we land some place, we're not on the streets. i thought we would have a conversation. i think you thought so too. it did not go that way. tavis: we talked about the role that fear played. you talked about the role that anger played in these elections. what role did money ultimately play in these elections and going forward, do you see any way that we are going to have a real conversation about campaign finance reform? >> it is going to be awhile but we have to have it. what we saw, the decision that
that seemed abstract to people or not necessarily related to their daily lives, that was wrong. the explosion, the flood, the tsunami of money we saw in this last cycle was shocking even to me. i expected -- it was worse than their arrest -- the worse. these groups flooded the airwaves. cable tv did a decent job of showing you these cookie cutter ants they were cutting against democrats around the country. often distorting the person's record or using the generic fair and smear whether it is about muslims or taking away health care, whether it is about raising taxes. they have their issues and with that kind of money, it is like a factory of lies.
they greeted these factory supplies and they were turning they went out all of a country like that. it was very hard for democrats to compete against that kind of onslaught. >>tavis: president obama was not personally on the ballot last week. what we do also note was the coalition that people together in 2008 did not show up for him this time around. no one supports president obama in this country, no group more than african-americans. there are 40 million black folk in this country for all the bedding he did for black folk to turn out, 10% of black folks turnedp1:t out, they did not ges back. there are a lot of reasons. they feel let down in a lot of ways about what has happened over the last couple years. i raise that to ask this question. what does the president do now?
if he is concerned about the shellacking he took and how he compromises and moves to the middle to do with republicans, what does he do now about his progress of base? >> we have a 4 cryan the road. it may seem like he took one side of it toward compromise, towards seconciliation. he will have another chance. our road today, i -- i wrote for the middle class or giving it all away, $700 billion to the wealthiest americans. he has decisions to make and he has to go back to his african american base. he lost support among youth. tavis: and women. >> women stayed home or drifted slightly to the republicans. he has to remind people of what he said he was going to do but
also really taught in a language that lets them know that he is on their side, not the side of the wealthy, the -- not the side of wall street. he has a vision that is about inclusion and putting people noact together, not continuing o shovel money and wealth and opportunity upward8)"vc.y to thy wealthy. he has to make clear he is on our side and he is a great speaker. that is not the problem. the vividness with which he discusses the challenges and the suffering we're seeing in our cities and suburbs everywhere, he has to get out there and see it, he has lvn=?kz feel it and express it. tavis: joan walsh, i appreciate your insights. nice to have you on the program. >> i appreciate it. tavis: josh groban is next. stay with us.
stay with us. jt(jip @one of the biggest namee music business. you can talpick up of copy of hs album "illuminations", with the legendary producer rick rubin. here is video for the song "hidden away". ♪ all i really need to say ♪ tavis: it is soft and subtle and there is a refinement of your song. can they handle this?
>> the tone we can. when we got into a room together for the first time, we were somewhat scared to death. we were both kind of admirers of each other's work but also, interested in the fact we had done different things. the fan conversation came up at the beginning. we appreciated the fact that people might u.s. together as a gimmick. people who did not know the work we were doing would ask us are you making a rock record or a rap record. we wanted to make a fan record. rick was a fan of the way i sang and he was a fan of my riding and i was honored. he wanted to break it down in a way that allowedc+ the best pars xtñ?ñ?ñ?ñof what he felt i did e through. we felt like if we focused on great singing, great songs and recording them with clarity and purity, the fans should not be bombed -- bummed.
tavis: when i saw that you had connected with rick rubin, of he worked with, if you're going to make that subtle shift, that movement to refine your sound, whity rick? >> i do not hear a stamp of rick rubin. i hear the best work the artist has done. the way that he works is genreless as far as what he is able to bring out of the artist. he just finished making the metallica record and he was in with a 60 piece orchestra. the way that came about, the way we got into the studio was the same way as it is for jay-z or
metallica or johnny cash. it was just writing and figuring out what our tools for going to be. he took what i've done in the past and he is like a coach. that was the thing that drew me to him. he is able to get into and theirs head to bring out finest work. >> that is what is on my ipod. >> mine, too. > tavis: how do these songs lend themselves to you're doing a fan favorite rec? >> -- record? >> it may be a test for the fans. the first thing was rick wanted me to do a lot of writing. fans as much as i like to hear the beauty of the singing and the orchestration, fans want to
find out about the artist drew their songs. i'm always so pleased when i can get or give a song that is -- speaks to me and i can interpret. given the opportunity to write from the heart and bring some personality and -- to th genre, it was a great opportunity. i would have been perfectly happy singing a group of cover songs we felt would be great for the fans and me. he said keep going and make it personal. )0 there are personal messagesr me on this record. a total of 13 tracks. the other thing is we recorded it. we took away a lot of the electronic elements of how it recorded in the past. many of the songs were recorded in one or two takes. there is a performance aspect of it that i think is exciting for me and the fans and the left part of the promotional tour
that we were able :wlát to brino the record process. it will be exciting to listen to as an album. >tavis: you have a large and loyal fan base. tell me about the journey you have been on as a writer to expose yourself to those fans. >> the first record, i was 17 and i was basically a student and professional at the same time. i was terrified, and it was given a great deal of music. to a certain extent, it took enough courage to just sing for people. at that point, to be able to have a microphone in front of me was a big enough task that the idea of coming home and writing melodies or scribbling something in a journal, i was not going to dare approach anybody with that kind of stuff. the next record [no audio]
songster to come in from -- songs come in from writers. it can sound that way, so listen to things and you say, is that what they think of me or that is what i want to say? you say stop being lazy. go right what is that you wish that song had been. it started out of frustration. and the reward, being able to sing those songs and have a great reaction from them, just kind of slowly but surely building confidence. that stuff i am playing when i get home, that is writing. if you can incorporate that into what you do, it is about honing that craft. it has been an amazing trip. tavis: it has come in droves for you. as the success comes, how do you resist being the commodity that a bunch of folks behind the
scenes what you, insist you become? >> i think my relationship with my fans has been special. it has been special in spite of the fact i do not think was able to -- i was not able to call myself a press darling. there is not a superficial hype machine. it has been years to turn head slowly but surely to where the fans had been the whole time. i think that has kept it grounded for me. in building the confidence and getting to a world where we are doing our thing and people come to us naturally without having to change, we feel like we can make our own moves. musically between me and my fans and -- they have let me be me. it is fun to pave a path. it is fun to feel like you're doing things your own way. in that regard, i have not had
to worry about any bar but my own. tavis: and want to go back to the first track on this record which i could not wait to hear once i read about it. i have two or three questions about this one. what were you doing writing when you were 12 and what were you thinking about and how do you write a song at 12 that you are getting around to recording? tell me about track #1. >> the piano was my of live at that age. i knew i could sing. i was singing stuff. in junior high school, you make that transition from elementary to junior high school. at that age, singing the wasting -- way i sing, you are taking it out on other instruments. i could not play guitar for the life of me.
before was given a drum set, we had a piano. i would come home and be stressed. my school life was a wondering experience. i was having trouble in school. i was not making a lot of friends. coming home and improvising on the piano and coming up with melodies was an escape for me. some of those are for ever forgotten and some stuck in my head forever. just having the confidence to bring some of those two the speaker is now, this was a song i was desperately trying to turn into a proper lyrical song. it was too all over the place. it was definitely wandering. i asked if i could get five or six of my favorite studio musicians and we could see what happens. it was all one performance, one take. n
it was a prelude to the rest of it to bring people in. it is full circle. i do not know why its stock in my head since that age. have been able to record it now. the firstere is te track. >> if i could tell my 12-year- old self, there is rick rubin. tavis: 4,f nñevery time wer parents always make their way into our conversation. we discovered live on tv that your parents and i do not live in the same neighborhood, we live on the same street, two blocks away. you were kind enough to bring your parents. it encouraged me that we're about to move into the holiday season and family means so much to all this. +ku?ñtell me how it is you have
navigated this journey to this wonderful place with the support of family. wu2 it has meant everything to me. when i started in the music business, travel became a huge part of my world where it had not, i had to visit parts of the world and i was spending maì(lc+ 30 days at home year. as the holidays come around, the greatest part of it is being with myvfxc%x family to have a t of reflection and simplicity and thanks. we talk about doing things their own way and having the confidence to pick your path. that does not happen without an amazing grounding force of family. head in the right place and been an amazing sound board for me and a balance. w6r blessed to have an amazing support system in my family. vn/j
we talked last time, "tavis smiley said that?" are heree grobins arans tonight. project,ban's new "illuminations". :çgu ñthat is the show for toni. thanks for tuning in. until next time, keep the faith. >> for more information on >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org tavis: andrew young and george dohrmann. we will see you then. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help
with his reading. >> i'm james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. yrf/"jwith every question and a, nationwide insurance is proud to join tavis in working to improve financial literacy and remove obstacles to economic empowerment one conversation at a time. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. ⌝yñkq cnñds >>